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04/19/2007


Jewish Anti-Defamation League Condemns 'Big Brother' Hate Speech

Abraham H FoxmanCBS's reality show Big Brother likely hasn't had this much attention in years; a shame it's for all the wrong reasons. In a single terrible season, you have racism against blacks and Asians, no small amount of homophobia, and praise for Hitler and hate crimes

Condemnation for the offending contestants has been loud and swift, and has even cost them their jobs once word got out. Meanwhile, fans of gay contestant Andy have set up a fundraising charity to combat homophobia and racism by supporting the Trevor Project.

On July 9th, the Jewish Anti-Defamation League added to the dogpile with an open letter from National Director Abraham H. Foxman to Leslie Moonves, the Chairman of CBS, requesting that the station either remove the contestants from the show, or:

Should you decide to retain them, we suggest that you provide a statement accompanying the feed that not only condemns the hate speech, but states that you are broadcasting it so that viewers will see for themselves how ugly and poisonous such prejudice and bigotry are, and will understand the importance of  standing up to it. 

As of this writing there has been no public response from Mr. Moonves or CBS.


Mike Wallace Dies: VIDEO

Obit Mike Wallace.JPEG-0fa46

Mike Wallace, late of CBS's 60 Minutes, died last night at age 93. He perished in an assisted care facility near New Canaan, CT. From the New York Times:

A reporter with the presence of a performer, Mr. Wallace went head to head with chiefs of state, celebrities and con artists for more than 50 years, living for the moment when “you forget the lights, the cameras, everything else, and you’re really talking to each other,” he said in an interview with The New York Times videotaped in July 2006 ...

Mr. Wallace created enough such moments to become a paragon of television journalism in the heyday of network news. As he grilled his subjects, he said, he walked “a fine line between sadism and intellectual curiosity.”

Wallace retired from 60 Minutes in 2006, at the age of 87. He is survived by several children, the youngest of whom is Chris Wallace, the combative host of FOX News Sunday.

Thanks to Joe.My.God for unearthing the following video -- an investigation into homosexuality in America hosted by Mike Wallace and aired in 1967. Given the era in which it was produced, it's admirably open-minded: gayfolk, at least male ones, are allowed to speak their pieces freely and at length. (I was especially interested in the weird hand-wringing about the possibility of a "gay mafia" ruling pop art and fashion, which seems rather incidental to the segment's central question: Is it desirable to legislate against private sexual behavior? On this question, at least, it seems Wallace wished to alight gently on the side of history.) Watch AFTER THE JUMP ...

Continue reading "Mike Wallace Dies: VIDEO" »


Pennsylvania Township Bans "Public Accommodations" Discrimination; Bathroom Panic Ensues

Ladies-Room-1Last Thursday evening, the "municipal commission" in Susquehanna Township, PA, voted to ban employment, housing, and "public accommodations" discrimination against LGBTs. Media coverage of the vote was mostly sane and sober. But, as The Advocate reports, one local news channel got weird:

“The ordinance also makes it legal for men who think they’re women, and also men who think they are women, known as transgenders, to use the women’s/men’s restroom in the township,” reported WHP-TV, a CBS affiliate. The station’s reporting spent a great deal of time on public restroom use — including the possibility that some nontransgender men would don women’s clothes in order to use women’s restrooms for voyeuristic purposes.

... which, when you think about it, reflects the station's dim view not only of transfolk, but of hetersexual males, too. Apparently, they believe Susquehanna is home to some significant number of straight men who've been eagerly awaiting precisely this kind of municipal gaffe so they can listen to ladies pee. What a strange place.


CBS Blasted For Handling Of Republican Debate

BachmannGrimaceCBS is about as good at managing their email as they are at hosting debates. Last night's Republican debate -- in which the moderators from CBS and the National Journal forced wild thematic changes on the candidates every three or four minutes, making it all but impossible for the already-befoggled presidential hopefuls to elucidate any complex thoughts on any issues at all -- is being panned from every angle today, and most forcefully by the shrinking Michele Bachmann campaign. Apparently, one of Bachmann's staffers was mistakenly copied on an internal CBS memo, circulated before the debate, in which the station's political director, John Dickerson, directed his underlings to keep Rep. Bachmann's airtime to a minimum. Which they did. 

According to Politico:

[The email said] Bachmann is "nearly off the charts," "not going to be getting many questions," and probably wouldn’t be even be worth inviting to a post-debate webcast.

Other gripes about the debate include CBS's decision to air the last 30 minutes of the event exclusively online -- a move that fatally bottle-necked the bandwidth, rendering large chunks of the discussion incomprehensible -- and the short shrift given candidates Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul.

Really, though -- Bachmann's the tragedy here, because when she did get a chance to speak, she was mind-blowing. For example: Until last night, did you have any idea that the United States is more Communist than China?


CBS Announces Formation of LGBT Employee Affinity Group

Angle CBS Corporation this morning announced the formation of its first affinity group for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees:

"ANGLE will hold kick-off meetings in New York and Los Angeles for CBS, Showtime, Simon and Schuster and other CBS division employees," according to a group spokesman. "ANGLE plans personal and professional development events, speakers bureaus as well as social gatherings each month."

The group's website can be found HERE.


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